Keith Leonard

Each headlong drop into sleep
the body jostles like a barn exploding

with swallows. A twitch of shoulder
and I'm draping the hallway photos with blankets,

chopping onions with a measuring spoon.
I want to think it's just the mind's prodding

of the limbs, asking, Are you
still with me?,
but if I dream of King Kong,

his beautiful girl fit snugly in his fist,
I'll wake grunting on the roof, a pencil

in my palm. Or if I dream of a picnic,
I'll wake dangling stones

above the mouth of a well. Most nights,
the seismography of my sleep

is plains given way to sudden mountain ranges,                    
and I'll wake carving rings

around tree limbs, the cuts
wide and deep and perfectly circular.








This poem was written after a few late-night reads of Charles Simic's The Voice at 3 A.M.